| Preparations for Chhath Puja on at Panbazar ghat on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos |
Nov. 18: The Brahmaputra banks here are bustling with activity with preparations proceeding at full steam for Chhath Puja.
While tents and stalls are being erected at several venues along the river for the two-day festival that begins tomorrow, colourful lights are being installed along the riverbank. The Kamrup (metro) administration has designated spots on the riverbank as venues for the festival. The banks along Chandrapur, Soonsali, Fancy Bazar, Kachamari at Machkhowa, Sonaram HS School ghat, Santipur, Uzan Bazar and Pandu are the venues which will receive thousands of devotees, who will start arriving tonight to offer prayers to the sun god.
“We are expecting close to 1 lakh devotees tomorrow at the ghat near Sukreswar Mandir. They will start arriving from about 2pm to worship the sun god at dusk and at dawn. We have also organised a bhajan sandhya where popular Bhojpuri singer Kalpana Patowary will sing bhajans,” said Devanand Singh, convener of the Purbottar Hindistani Yubak Samaj, one of the organisers of the event.
The district administration is also taking measures to manage the crowd and ensure that the festivities pass off peacefully. Different Chhath Puja committees have been instructed to arrange adequate number of volunteers.
“We have briefed the volunteers on how to manage the crowds. We have also barricaded the river at certain points in all venues to ensure that devotees do not enter deep water. The volunteers have to keep an eye on this. Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force will also be present to rescue anyone who accidentally falls into the river,” Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri said.
“The GMC along with the different Chhath Puja committees will be responsible for cleanliness at the venues. Garbage bins will be installed at designated points and people should take care not to litter the riverbank with waste.”
City traffic police have imposed restrictions on the movement of vehicles along different routes. The restrictions will be effective from 1pm on November 19 and November 20 till the devotees leave the puja venues late in the evening. Commuters have been requested to avoid driving on the busy roads during the peak hours and avoid MG Road and AT Road from 1pm.
Vehicles carrying devotees coming from Bharalamukh can park on the stretch between Apollo Point and FA Road and the MG Road crossing, TRP Road, Lakhi Goli, Chamber’s Road, MS Road and SRCB Road. All vehicles coming to the Sonaram HS School ghat will have to be parked on Sonaram field. Devotees can park their two and three-wheelers on the bylanes of SC Goswami Road and Dr JC Das Road.